Updated: Oct 20
By Andrew Murdoch (As seen in the APeeling Digital Magazine)
As seen in the APeeling Magazine April 2020 Issue
I felt trapped, frustrated and left behind. I had a tough conversation with myself and suddenly, all of the self-development work I had invested in made so much sense. For example, the famous Einstein quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” I had always understood the meaning behind this quote, but I never fully grasped the message.
The answer I was looking for was staring me in the face. I had already transitioned to a career that allowed me to work from home. It was natural to explore all the added benefits that this new found freedom granted me. My journey of becoming a resourceful, adaptable and flexible digital nomad had begun. That was in late 2018 and I had no idea how important this transition would later become.
My name is Andrew Murdoch and I travel the world as a digital nomad living the laptop lifestyle as a remote worker. I value being location independent, I escaped the traditional location-based dinosaur model and I joined the future of work. Life can be unpredictable and it’s only prudent of me to hope for the best and plan for the worst. I pride myself in being able to optimize my life in such a way that I can best take advantage of opportunities and I believe you can too.
Transitioning to live and work remotely doesn’t qualify as “Breaking the Mold” anymore. This is a growing trend and thanks to the exponential growth of the tech boom, there are no indications that this will slow. The rate of acceleration is accelerating! According to Peter Diamandis - 4 billion “new minds” are about to be connected to the World Wide Web by 2024, at Gigabit connection speeds, and at near zero-cost. Do you think this will support or hurt the digital nomad lifestyle experience? The trends would suggest that transitioning into being an online remote worker only increases your chances of success.
Traveling around the world has forced me to become more social, adaptable, flexible, and understand nonverbal communication. I’m actually very introverted, and I impressed myself when I realized how much I can convey through body language and not knowing the local language. I’m now more able to figure out situations even when I can’t communicate with the locals. I’m more independent, open, and overall, just a better person. You’ll be inspired by how often you can surprise yourself when thinking of creative solutions to problems.
The reasons for seeking a laptop lifestyle are different for everyone. I found myself newly divorced and sleeping on an air mattress in a friend of a friend’s spare bedroom. I was loaded with debt of my own doing, and an added five figures that my Ex left on my credit card. I felt like the world’s biggest loser. A failed marriage, coupled with a mountain of debt that was overwhelming.
I was choking on my situation and sick to my stomach because I had created it. I had to make a choice. I could bitch and moan or I could take control. This was a painful and expensive lesson; you will never be able to control someone else’s actions. Complaining about someone else saying or doing something is like complaining about the weather.
You are wasting your time and breath. I knew the only way I had a shot of improving my financial mess was to increase income and reduce expenses. So I got off that air mattress and took action. I got rid of almost all my belongings, including selling my car. I studied my digital nomad options and realized that I could live for a fraction of what my expenses were in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada. Not a big surprise actually since Vancouver is widely known to be a very expensive location.
Financial independence is a very REAL possibility when choosing the laptop lifestyle. I shudder to think where my life would be had I not taken action when I did. I doubt I’d still be on that air mattress, but I would not have realized such a profound sense of freedom.
Getting a grip on my finances was only the beginning. Looking at the world through the Netflix lens no longer appealed to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my entertainment as much as the next remote professional. However, I am able to leverage this remote lifestyle to experience parts of the globe first hand. I typically work a regular schedule being Monday to Friday which allows me to explore the local environment on weekends. This was of course the norm before terms like self-isolation and social distancing started trending.
Where I came from was not a traditional path. I spent the bulk of my adult life as a blue collar professional. My diverse career background stretches serving as a firefighter, cruise ship scuba instructor, freight train conductor and coast guard rescue diver. I even worked as an insurance agent for two years which is when I cultivated a mindset around reducing risk. My work experience has taught me that there is no point in stressing over aspects that are beyond your control as that doesn’t do anyone any good. You can do yourself a service and improve the quality of life for those around you by focusing your attention on factors you have influence over.
Some of my loved ones, including my mom, were originally very critical of my decision to live this way. People claimed that I was making a risky decision by becoming a digital nomad. I let them say what they want as I understood they were concerned for my safety and wellbeing. They also could only see things from their perspective. The truth is, they were right. It was a risky decision, for them. I considered it to be a ‘safe’ option and the recent events would suggest that I made the right call.
These days have proved that companies with remote staff are able to remain operational while others have reduced, or in some cases, completely closed their operation down. I predict that after the world survives this Coronavirus pandemic, companies will look at remote workers more favorably as a way to reduce risk, improve retention and improve their bottom line.
None of us can predict when life will return to normal but when it does, I’m going to continue traveling the world, eating different foods, experiencing new cultures, taking in the views, creating new friendships, and well, you get the idea. There are many reasons why so many people feel pulled towards this way of life. Have you ever met someone who regretted traveling? I haven’t. There is so much to be gained by exploring this beautiful planet and the people on it. It seems crazy to me to put that experience off for a few decades until retirement. There is no need for that. I answered the call and maybe you will too.
Follow Andrew Murdoch as he travels the world living life as a digital nomad.